Our favorite Latin restaurants often serve heaping plates of meat, rice and beans, but just a tiny serving of vegetables (sometimes just the garnish!) Bigger portion sizes are contributing to our obesity epidemic, which affects many Latinos. But you don’t have to give up your traditional favorites to eat healthier. Take this crash course in portion sizes!
Make room for a little meat
Meat doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of your meal. A serving of meat, including fish, should be 3 ounces, or about the size of a deck of playing cards. And a serving of beans is half a cup — about the size of your fist.
Load up on veggies
Good news! You can have unlimited vegetables, but stick to those without added sauces or toppings to limit added sugars and salt. You’ll also feel fuller while getting fewer calories. Update your veggie side dishes into more robust servings — like herbed or seasoned vegetables — that take up about half of your plate. Serving something that won’t be on a plate, like soup? Add double the amount of vegetables than protein.
Get your fill of fruit
Get your servings from whole fruit instead of fruit juices or smoothies, which often have hidden sources of added sugars and calories. Fruit makes tasty, desserts — try adding bananas to plain yogurt. You can also use it as a sweetener instead of sugar.
Dabble in dairy
If yogurt is part of your diet, choose the plain low-fat or fat-free variety instead of sweetened flavored yogurt. Limit your cheese; a serving is 1.5 ounce of lowfat or fat-free cheese, or about the size of two dominoes. One dairy serving is about 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt, 1.5 ounces fat-free or low-fat cheese, or half a cup of fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese.
Get your grains and bread
A serving of rice, grains or pasta is about half a cup cooked, about the size of your fist. When eating bread, remember that each slice is 1 serving. Tortillas usually have less fat, and corn is better than flour or try whole grain. Practice portion size tips and you’ll start seeing results without going on a diet!